After reading a number of exercise bike reviews and articles on the web, it struck me that the majority of these reviews and articles were written by people that have probably never even used an exercise bike. So I decided to put together a buyers guide, as well as side-by-side comparisons of the best exercise bikes currently on the market. My aim was to create a guide to help you find the best home use exercise bike in the UK.
Also, just so I don't waste your time, these are cheaper home-use exercise bikes that are intended for beginner to intermediate users.
If you're currently juicing with Lance in the tour de france, If you're a keen assisted cyclist, then these bikes may not be for you!
Exercise Bike Buyers Guide
- Customer Service
Even the best quality exercise bikes can develop faults. So If you’re dealing with a company that doesn’t stand by their product, good specifications don't mean a great deal. I've added *research links* to each exercise bike review, these links pull up multiple user reviews that mention specific keywords. If there's a distinct pattern in the type of complaints, this should raise a red flag.
I'm not going to make a blanket statement like "all cheap exercise bikes will fall to bits", or rehash cliches like "you get what you pay for", because that's not ALWAYS the case. I've bought exceptional quality products cheaply, and I've also bought expensive lemons. I include updated user review links for each exercise bike, so you can check out the long-term reliability of any bike.
- Comfort and Resistance
When I refer to comfort I don’t just mean how comfortable the saddle is to sit on, since this can usually be remedied with a good gel seat cover. I’m referring to the smoothness of the resistance. The cheaper exercise bikes typically use a belt or fan for resistance. The belt tension bikes tend to feel a little weird while pedalling, or at least that’s been my experience. Also, they have a tendency to get louder with higher resistance settings, since they rely on friction for resistance.
A better option is to look at the magnetic resistance exercise bikes. These provide a much smoother and quieter ride. If you’re in the market for an exercise bike with higher resistance levels, look out for the size and weight of the flywheel, since the bigger the flywheel, the greater the range of resistance.
I think most people would prefer to have a quieter exercise bike, especially if you live with other people or have neighbours to think about. I suppose this really depends on when you intend to exercise, however, most people like to listen to music or watch TV while cycling and a noisy exercise bike can be disruptive.
- Size and Weight
With the exception of foldable exercise bikes, the majority of non-commercial exercise bikes are comparable in the amount of space they take up. They do differ in weight, however, so if you intend to move your exercise bike around a lot make sure it doesn't weigh a ton!
- Foldable or Stationary
If you’re stuck for space a good foldable exercise bike is preferable to no exercise bike at all, however, many offer little to no resistance and even most beginners will quickly find them too easy. Assuming you have the space, a good stationary bike with a heavy flywheel should keep you challenged long-term.
- User Weight and Height
We all come in different shapes and sizes. So it’s important to find an exercise bike that can be easily adjusted to accommodate you personally. Most people between 5’3” and 6’3” should be fine with the majority of home use exercise bikes. However, if you’re outside of this height range, pay close attention to the reviews regarding seat adjustability. Also, take note of the max user weight, most foldable exercise bikes hold up to 100 kgs whereas many stationary exercise bikes can hold upwards of 130 kg.
The exercise bike reviews will be broken up into various comparison lists, then recommendations will be made based on a number of factors including best value for money, average rating, pros and cons, personal experience, user feedback (reviews) and suitability.
List was last updated on 07/01/16
Folding Exercise Bikes
Upright Exercise Bikes
Recumbent Exercise Bikes
The first set of bikes are all foldable exercise bikes in the £100 price range. I DON'T recommend these bikes for more advanced users. These models are for beginners, or for people that need a foldup bike to save on space.
After weighing up the pros & cons, price, build quality, manufacturer customer service and a few other variables, the Ultrafit F-Bike has been choosen as the overall winner.
Category Winner – Ultrafit F-Bike
Alternatively, you could go for the newer model Ultrafit F-Bike that comes with back support (although it is slightly more expensive, but worth it if you need the back support while cycling).
Klarfit X-Bike-700 Foldable Exercise Bicycle
The Klarfit X-Bike-700 Foldable Exercise Bike is a decent alternative to the Ultrafit F-Bike (with back support), if that's what you need. At the time of writing, it's cheaper than the F-bike. It's an excellent choice if you're looking to spend as little as possible, but still get a useable foldup bike in this price-range.
You don't always get what you pay for, but these are entry level upright exercise bikes and they're unlikely to WOW you. If you want to save the maximum amount of money, these models will ge the job done. Personally, I'd invest a little more and get something better, but it really depends on what your budget is. Occasionally, the JF100 and JF200 drop down in price under £100, so grab them while they're on offer.
Category Winner – JLL JF100 Home Exercise Bike
|Research Links||JLL JF100 Home Exercise Bike|
|Customer Service||Check Here|
|Long-Term Reliability||Check Here|
The JF200 is the new and improved version of the JF100, funnily enough… I've chosen the JF100 based on the price to specification ratio, but I would personally go with the JF200 if it's on offer and is within your budget. Sometimes the price creeps up to £140+ … so I would get the JF200 when it comes down to the £100 mark. You can get the JF200 here.
York Fitness Active 110 Exercise Bike
The York York Fitness Active 110 is the predecessor to the York C101 Cycle. It's a decentish bike for the money, but the customer support can be a bit hit and miss at times, check this before buying.
Body Sculpture BC1700 Exercise Bike
These bikes tend vary in price around the £300 mark depending when and where you buy. They are all decent bikes with similiar specifications, although the DKN AM-E edges out in terms of build quality and overall performance.
Category Winner – DKN AM-E Exercise Bike
|Research Links||DKN AM-E Exercise Bike|
|Customer Service||Check Here|
|Long-Term Reliability||Check Here|
Reebok ZR8 Exercise Bike
The ZR8 is also a solid choice. It is however, a fair bit more expensive than the category winner and given the minor differences in specifications, is not worth paying more. If the price drops dramitically under £300, then it's a model to consider.
V-Fit G-RC Recumbent Magnetic Cycle
The V-Fit model is a good entry level recumbent bike, it's cheap and cheerful. It comes with a 6kg flywheel, which should provide enough resistance for leisurely use. The RE100 comes with a 4kg flywheel but is typically slightly cheaper, it may be the better choice if you're wanting to spend as little as possible.
JLL Home Recumbent Exercise Bike RE100
Both of these models are excellent choices. The Kettler model comes with a slightly heavier flywheel, but at the time of writing, is also more expensive. I would personally go for the Pro Form assuming it's still cheaper.
Pro Form 350 CSX Recumbent Bike